Pros: Dramatic storyline and superb illustrations.
Cons: The Crocodile’s intentions might scare small children; abrupt ending.
“The Enormous Crocodile” is another popular children’s book from the creative mind of Roald Dahl. Quentin Blake’s illustrations are also appreciated in this adaptation of how a crocodile’s plans to eat children leads to the follies of his ways.
Deep in Africa, there lived an enormous crocodile along with a smaller crocodile. The Enormous Crocodile then tells the smaller crocodile about his perfect idea of a dinner and that perfect dinner would be….CHILDREN!!! The smaller crocodile, however, claims that children tasted nasty and bitter and the Enormous Crocodile argues that children are delicious to eat. The Enormous Crocodile then tells the smaller crocodile that he is going to the village to snatch up some children and claims that no one will see him, even though the smaller crocodile retorts that the Enormous Crocodile is large and ugly. The Enormous Crocodile then tells the smaller crocodile that he has secret plans and clever tricks and heads off towards the village.
Along the way, the Enormous Crocodile meets Humpy-Rumpy the hippopotamus and Humpy-Rumpy asks the crocodile what he is up to. The Enormous Crocodile tells Humpy-Rumpy that he is going to eat some children and Humpy-Rumpy is horrified at the crocodile’s evil plan and he hopes that the crocodile gets turned into a soup. The Enormous Crocodile just laughs at Humpy-Rumpy and goes on toward the village. The next animal that the Enormous Crocodile meets is Trunky the Elephant, who the crocodile deliberately bites his leg to get his attention. Trunky the Elephant, rather annoyingly, asks the Enormous Crocodile what is he doing out the water and the Enormous Crocodile replies that he is going to eat some children and Trunky the Elephant is disgusted with the crocodile’s plan and hopes that the Enormous Crocodile gets turned into stew. The Enormous Crocodile just laughs at Trunky and moves on towards the village.
Later on, the Enormous Crocodile meets Muggle-Wump the monkey and Muggle-Wump asks the crocodile what he is doing. The Enormous Crocodile starts talking about eating something delicious and Muggle-Wump assumes that he meant nuts. The Enormous Crocodile tells Muggle-Wump that he is going to eat some children and Muggle-Wump is terrified by the crocodile’s response and hopes that the crocodile gets his buttons unbuttoned and stuck in his throat. The Enormous Crocodile then threatens to eat Muggle-Wump and ends up biting down the tree that Muggle-Wump was sitting in, but Muggle-Wump escapes the crocodile safely and jumps deep into the jungle. The Enormous Crocodile next meets the Roly-Poly Bird and the Roly-Poly Bird wants to know what the crocodile is doing and the crocodile starts talking about eating something mushy and squishy and the Roly-Poly Bird thought he meant berries. The Enormous Crocodile, of course, tells the Roly-Poly Bird he is going to eat some children and then threatens to eat the Roly-Poly Bird. The crocodile grabs the Roly-Poly Bird by its tail feathers and the Roly-Poly Bird escapes from the crocodile but loses his tail feathers in the process.
The Enormous Crocodile finally makes it to the village and hopes to eat three juicy children for today. The Enormous Crocodile then finds a coconut tree and since he knows that the children usually pick coconuts from the coconut trees, the crocodile then says:
“NOW FOR CLEVER TRICK NUMBER ONE!”
And sets his plan in action by taking the branches and coconuts off the ground and standing up on his tail to look exactly like a coconut tree while covering himself with coconuts and the branches. Presently, two siblings came along, Toto and Mary, to see if there are any coconuts on the ground and when they did not see any on the ground, they spot the Enormous Crocodile in the form of a coconut tree. The children, not suspecting anything wrong, tried to climb up the tree until Humpy-Rumpy shows up. Humpy-Rumpy warns the children that the tree is actually the Enormous Crocodile in disguise and head butts the crocodile. The Enormous Crocodile starts rolling around the area, while Toto and Mary escape from the crocodile. Even though the Enormous Crocodile was hit hard by Humpy-Rumpy, he was tough and still went to another area to find children to eat.
The Enormous Crocodile then spots a school and said to himself:
“NOW FOR CLEVER TRICK NUMBER TWO!”
The crocodile finds a log and lies on top of it and tucks in his feet and claws to look exactly like a see-saw. Presently, the children came out of school and spot the Enormous Crocodile, in the form of a see-saw. When the children were about to get on the see-saw, Muggle-Wump comes and warns the children that the see-saw is the Enormous Crocodile trying to eat them up. The children then run away screaming and the crocodile is angry with Muggle-Wump.
Now, the Enormous Crocodile was getting hungrier and eventually spots a fair being taken place. The crocodile says to himself:
“NOW FOR CLEVER TRICK NUMBER THREE!”
And the crocodile spots a roundabout (merry-go-round) with various animals such as a dragon, a lion, etc. The crocodile then takes his place between the lion and the dragon and stands very still so that he looks like a wooden crocodile. Presently, some children come to the roundabout and want to ride on the animals. One little girl named Jill, wanted to ride on the crocodile and was just about to climb on the crocodile when the Roly-Poly Bird comes in and warns Jill about the wooden crocodile actually being the Enormous Crocodile trying to eat her up. Jill then runs away and so do the other kids from the crocodile and the crocodile is angry at the Roly-Poly Bird.
The crocodile then approaches the picnic place where everyone is having a picnic and declares:
“NOW FOR CLEVER TRICK NUMBER FOUR!”
The Enormous Crocodile then proceeds to collect some flowers and put them on one of the table and then he took a bench away from the table and disguised himself as a bench by tucking in his tail and head. Presently, two boys and two girls came to the picnic place and were about to sit at the table where the crocodile was at until Trunky the Elephant crashes and warns the children that the Enormous Crocodile is waiting for them at the picnic table. Trunky then picks up the crocodile and….
Read the end to find out what happens to the crocodile when you pick up this book!
Roald Dahl does an excellent job at creating a storyline that is both dramatic and humorous at the same time as the Enormous Crocodile tries to feed on some innocent children, while at the same time, the other animals of the jungle foil the crocodile’s attempts to make a child his lunch. Roald Dahl has put many humorous scenes in this book such as, the scene where Humpy-Rumpy head butts the Enormous Crocodile when the crocodile was trying to eat Toto and Mary and the crocodile rolls around the coconut area like a large green ball. Quentin Blake’s illustrations greatly enhances the book’s intensity and humor as he illustrates the Enormous Crocodile as a large green lizard with hundreds of sharp teeth, indicating that he is truly the villain of the story. Also, Quentin Blake’s illustrations provide humor in the story when he vividly illustrates the various disguises of the Enormous Crocodile such as, the image where the Enormous Crocodile makes himself look like a coconut tree by standing on his tail and carrying coconuts and branches in his mouth.
Parents should know that the crocodile’s attempts at eating an innocent child may definitely scare younger children since most crocodiles in reality do eat some people (I am not really sure if this is true or not, but I am just speculating on this) and that could worry most adults about reading their child, who have a fear of crocodiles, this book. Also, the Enormous Crocodile is shown to be a true villain of the story as he has no sympathy towards the children, when he wanted to eat them for no cause and for the other animals as he mean-spiritedly tried to hurt them for insulting him. I also want to point out that the ending is a bit abrupt as the story sort of ends in an uneasy way. I do not want to spoil the ending for you, but just know that someone is going to get killed at the end of the book. (Besides, if I spoiled the ending for you, then the book would not be fun to read).
“The Enormous Crocodile” is a fantastic story about how being cruel to everyone around you can cause your downfall and how help can come in an unexpected way, such as the other animals saving the children even though the children had no idea what was going on. This story is a typical Roald Dahl classic that contains wry humor and fantasy elements and will greatly amuse children ages six and over who love Roald Dahl stories. Of course, parents should read this book first before they give it to their children due to the theme of the crocodile trying to eat innocent children and should assure their children that the crocodile may be a cruel animal, but this book strongly shows that evil will never triumph over good.